Buck & Jane
A Death in the Family
Decker & Hayes
Epic Echoes
The Great Muppet Debate
Guard Duty
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Stage Blood



Like Mother
Episode 10 - CASKet Case

By Lyn Nelson


Narr: Hope Darling did not know what to expect standing backstage at an arena in Albany where the President of Madagascar was giving a lecture. She was ready for anything – or so she thought. With her backstage were Pandora, Bobby, Jason Brandt, and their newest acquisitions Tabitha Wentworth and Esperanza Deere. The six of them waited with bated breath as President Emil Anantanarayanan prepared to begin his speech. They all knew that Anantanarayanan was not, in fact, the President of Madagascar, and suspected that the real President, Mark Ravalomanana, was still in his home country and was in mortal danger. They listened intently, hoping to glean some information about Ravalomanana’s whereabouts, as Emil Anantanarayanan began to speak.

Emil: (dignified and cordial) It is truly an honor to join you all in the great state of New York in this marvelous country America. Though before I begin I should say that this moment is bittersweet for me. As you all know, President Mark Ravalomanana was scheduled to be delivering this lecture series, but his body remains in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Bobby: I knew it!

Hope: What?

Emil: The unfortunate victim of a terrible and fatal case of Chikungunya, President Ravalomanana passed yesterday and we all mourn his death. I was immediately appointed to his place, as the second in command, and can only hope to continue his legacy as an international diplomat with the level of grace and integrity that President Ravalomanana employed.

Hope: This can’t be!

Esperanza: Mosquitoes, dear. Perhaps they did the job before the conspiracy got there.

Hope: That doesn’t make any sense. We…we need somewhere to organize.

Jason: But you said they’re going to kill this dude! Shouldn’t we stick around and kick some ass?

Hope: Um, no. Looks like we’re a little late for that.

Bobby: Maybe we can find an Internet café nearby?

Hope: Mother?

Esperanza: I know one. Come on.

Narr: The six made their way out of the State University auditorium and to the campus street.

Esperanza: Jay-Jay, darling, why don’t you ride with me? Here, Eggplant, let me write you directions. It’s just about five blocks, I think you can handle it, hmm?

Hope: Good. I’ll take the kids.

Narr: Hope led the teens to their newest rented chariot and started the engine.

Tabby: So that’s your mom, Mrs. Darling?

Hope: Yes, Tabitha dear. It’s been a while since I’ve… seen her.

Tabby: Did you have a fight or something?

Hope: Oh, nothing terribly serious. She and I have different ideas about what’s going on in the world, that’s all. Now let’s see…it says a left on Oak Street….there it is. Hop out, kids.

Narr: At the Internet café, over a round of lattés…

Bobby: It’s all over the news sites and blogs, and the story’s consistent. President Ravalomanana died of Chikungunya, which was transmitted through a mosquito bite.

Jason: It’s got to be the aliens! Right, Peri?

Esperanza: Not quite, Jay-Jay. But it could easily be the conspiracy.

Hope: Oh come now, Mother.

Esperanza: Don’t tell me you of all people believe that it was truly a mosquito bite that killed that poor man?

Hope: Of course not. But let’s be honest. Your conspiracy and mine are…well, different.

Esperanza: Well of course. Mine exists, and yours…well, maybe yours does, but it’s not really worth pursuing.

Bobby: (slowly figuring out something weird) Wait…Mr. Brandt –

Jason: Jason, kid.

Bobby: (a little bashful and flattered) Jason…(back to detective mode) how do you and Mrs. Deere know each other?

Jason: We’re both fighting the conspiracy, of course!

Esperanza: Well, conspiracies, Jay-Jay.

Jason: Whatever, we’re working together!

Pandy: (disappointed) So, Grandma…you think it’s the aliens too?

Esperanza: (amused) Of course not, Pumpkin. Jay-Jay and I are fighting similar causes, but we disagree on certain fundamental things.

Pandy: (relieved) So you don’t think it’s aliens.

Esperanza: Don’t be silly.

Bobby: Well what’s your theory, Mrs. Deere?

Esperanza: Ghosts.

Bobby: I’m sorry?

Esperanza: The souls of the dead, Pumpkin. They want to take over the world.

Pandy: Oh, for Christ’s sake.

Hope: Pandora! Be respectful of your grandmother!

Esperanza: (chuckle) Oh it’s alright, Hope, most people think I’m batty.

(uncomfortable silence.)

Jason: So what’s the plan, Mom?

Hope: Well, it’s clear they’ve already gotten to Mark Ravalomanana. I still can’t believe it. How did we miss that?

Esperanza: Maybe they realized we were on to them.

Hope: You mean maybe they realized we were on to them.

Esperanza: Whatever, dear. Perhaps they panicked and took care of the situation.

Hope: I don’t think the imposter is CASK. I’m not even convinced he knows he’s part of a conspiracy. But he’s got to be their puppet somehow.

Bobby: Maybe he’s been drugged?

Pandy: If they’re using him to be a leader for the conspiracy without his knowledge, it’s more likely that they hand selected him at birth and began programming him before life experience could influence his thoughts and decisions. They’d have to drug him too heavily to make him so pliable a tool, and that could backfire on them. He was too convincingly humble.

Esperanza: I say, darling, you’ve done quite a job with Pandora. How long has she been training?

Hope: Not as long as you’d think.

Esperanza: (quietly, to the side) Though isn’t she a little young? They say not to start them until-

Hope: I couldn’t help it.

Esperanza: Oh dear. Getting a little sloppy are we?

Hope: Can we have this delightful conversation later?

Esperanza: But of course.

Hope: (back to normal volume) I think Pandora is right. So, Pandy, what should we do about it?

Pandy: Umm…(thinking) deprogramming?

Hope: Great. How should we do that?

Pandy: Well…at this point in his life, a combination of a drug cocktail, hypnosis, and sensory stimulation to help him confront latent memories of being programmed and then separate them from his real thoughts.

Esperanza: (getting excited) So what’s the plan, Pumpkin?

Pandy: What? No, no, I can’t tell you all what to-

Hope: You’re most of the way there, Potato! Just formulate the plan.

Pandy: (sighs) We go back to the lecture, wait until he’s done, and follow him when he leaves. We assess the situation, eliminate any agents or non-agent body guards who present an obstacle. We take the President into our custody, find a place to hide out, and begin deprogramming.

Jason: Alright! Let’s do it! Teeny-bopper girl, you’re hardcore!

Hope: It’s an excellent plan, Pandora. Er, Mother, why don’t you take Mr. Brandt and find us a good hideout. You may want to prepare to perform hypnosis in a while, too. You always were the best.

Esperanza: Roger, dear. Ring me on my portable when you’re ready for us.

Narr: And with that, the sixsome split up, Esperanza and Jason Brandt investigating Albany’s hideout options, and Hope and the kids back on their way to the President’s speech. This time Bobby found himself in the back seat of a rental car with Tabby.

Bobby: So, uh, Tabby…you read my blog?

Tabby: Well…yeah. But don’t let it go to your head or anything. It’s not that good.

Bobby: Oh. Well, thanks anyway.

Tabby: Sure, whatever. (beat) You know, Bobby…

Bobby: Yeah?

Tabby: I have to admit, this whole thing is pretty exciting. Life in Carousel can get kind of boring after a while. But we’re on a real live adventure, like in the movies!

Bobby: Just wait till you get shot.

Tabby: What!?

Hope: Okay, kids. We’re not going to risk parking, because we’ll probably have to make a quick getaway. Pandora, I want you to stay behind the wheel, and don’t do anything stupid. Tabitha, you stay with her. Bobby and I are going back into the auditorium. We’re going to make our way backstage again and see if that guard recognizes us so we can get nice and close. According to my watch the lecture should be over soon. When the President comes out of the auditorium, watch where he goes. We’ll come update you then and we’ll go from there. Got it?

Pandy: (sighs) Yes, Mother.

Hope: Good.

Narr: Pandy and Tabby watched Hope and Bobby disappear into the auditorium building and sat uncomfortably for a few minutes.

Tabby: So…is this what’s been bugging you lately? Your mom being clinically insane?

Pandy: She’s not insane, Tabby. At least, I don’t think so. She sounds crazy but…I think she’s been right about some things.


Tabby: What were you going to say to me earlier? About…Bobby?

Pandy: What do you mean?

Tabby: You were saying he wasn’t really…something…and we got interrupted.

Pandy: Oh. Yeah. Um, well, it’s just that I don’t think he’s really…your type. He’s a total nerd, you know?

Tabby: You’re not keeping up with your hook-up profiling, Pandy. Opposites attract! Besides, I care about the news and stuff….sometimes.

Pandy: It’s just, well…Bobby and I have been spending a lot of time together the past couple of days, and-

Tabby: Oh jeez.

Pandy: No, no, it’s just…we’re kind of friends now, and it might be weird if two of my friends were dating.

Tabby: Now you’re –

Pandy: Look! The President is coming out of the auditorium!

Tabby: Ooh, this is exciting.

Pandy: Oh my god!

Tabby: What?

Pandy: That body guard! The woman!

Tabby: What about her? Pandy…Pandy what are you doing? Where are you going? Don’t you think getting out of the car to approach the President’s body guard falls under the category of "stupid"!? Oh for…

Narr: Tabby got out of the back seat and followed Pandy, who was approaching the back of the female body guard.

Pandy: Annette!

Narr: A few minutes later, Bobby emerged from the auditorium building. He ran to the rental car to find Pandy, but instead found the car empty. Looking around frantically, he spotted a familiar woman standing near the open door of a limousine a few yards away.

Bobby: Annette?

Annette: Oh! Hello…Billy, is it?

Bobby: Bobby, actually. What are you doing here?

Annette: I’m here for the President’s speech, of course.

Bobby: Where-where is he?

Annette: He went on ahead in another limo.

Pandy: Bobby!

Bobby: Pandy? Where are you?

Annette: Excuse me for a minute.

Narr: Annette reached into the back of her skirt and drew out a pistol. She reached into the limousine and made a jerking motion with her arm. Bobby heard a thump and a groan come from inside the limousine, followed by a scream.

Bobby: Wha…what’s going on, Annette? What’s wrong with you?

Narr: The other side of the limousine opened and a bodyguard came around the back, dragging a panicky and crying Tabby with him. He had a gun to her temple. Annette reached into the car and pulled out a limp Pandy, who was trickling blood from the top of her skull. Annette propped her up with one arm and loosely held a gun to her chest.

Annette: Nothing’s wrong with me, Bobby, I just know what I want and how to get it.

Bobby: (getting brave) What do you want, then?

Annette: Jason Brandt. I know you and Hope have him somewhere. Give him to me, and you can have your girlfriend here back.

Bobby: What about Tabby?

Annette: Her, too. Just give me Brandt.

Bobby: Not a chance. Give me the girls. (fx: gun cocking)

Tabby: Bobby!? Where did you get a gun?

Bobby: From Mrs. Darling’s last car, in Seattle.

Annette: (laughs a whole lot) You want to shoot me, Bobby? Go ahead!

Hope: Bobby! Annette!? What the hell is going on here?! I thought you died in the explosion!

Narr: Hope ran out of the auditorium building toward the street where she saw Bobby trembling in a face-off with Annette. As Bobby’s hands shook around the handle of the gun and sweat broke out of the pores on his forehead, he watched as Annette pitched forward and fell face-down on the sidewalk in front of him, blood pouring out of the back of her head. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as Bobby saw Jason Brandt looming up on the other side of the street, and Esperanza running to their side. Hope ran over to Pandy, who had also fallen to the sidewalk as the other bodyguard pulled the trigger of his gun. Bobby saw Tabby scream but barely heard it as his eyes followed the bullet’s path to Hope’s body, and watched as, at the last minute, Esperanza Deere threw herself in front of her daughter. Her body pitched and she collapsed on the other side of Hope, covering three generations of Deere women in their matriarch’s blood. Jason ran to Bobby’s side as one more bullet rang out and the second body guard fell to the sidewalk. Bobby increasingly became aware of the commotion around him.

Tabby: (sobbing and screaming)

Pandy: (moaning and waking up)

Jason: Kid! Kid! Are you okay? Are you girls okay? Mom? Mom, are you alright?

Hope: Mother? Mother? (beat) Quiet, everybody. (beat. Then the sentence that actually quiets them) Everybody! Quiet! (they all quiet) Jason, get Bobby and Tabby into the car. I’ve got Pandy. The police will be here any minute. (beat). I love you, mother.

Narr: What will happen to the Darling women and their companions? Will they be able to deprogram the President of Madagascar? Is the conspiracy real? Tune in for the thrilling season finale of Like Mother: Say Goodbye.

Go to Episode 11